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Tallgrass prairie restoration

Restoration outcomes are notoriously variable, hindering practice and impeding predictive capacities, and we generally lack understanding of  the reasons for this variability. Complicating matters is that variation may result from many types of factors, spanning soil conditions, landscape context, details of the restoration methods used, and many others. 

To resolve drivers of variation in restoration outcomes, we are working to unite community assembly theory to restoration practice. Our goal is to understand how aspects of seed mixes (e.g., seeding density, diversity), underlying environmental conditions like soils, and other factors work together to structure plant community assembly during prairie restoration. We are pursuing this approach through a combination of mechanism-oriented experiments, which manipulate aspects of seed mix design, and surveys of ongoing prairie restoration efforts across the Upper Midwest.

Relevant publications

Catano, C. P., Groves, A. M., & Brudvig, L. A. (2023). Community assembly history alters relationships between biodiversity and ecosystem functions during restoration. Ecology, 104(2), e3910. [link]

Catano, C. P., Grman, E., Behrens, E., & Brudvig, L. A. (2021). Species pool size alters species–area relationships during experimental community assembly. Ecology e03231 [link]

Groves, A. M., Bauer, J. T., & Brudvig, L. A. (2020). Lasting signature of planting year weather on restored grasslands. Scientific Reports, 10(1), 5953. [link]

Zirbel, C. R., & Brudvig, L. A. (2020). Trait–environment interactions affect plant establishment success during restoration. Ecology e02971 [link]

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